An independent non-profit group has asked a federal court to order the IRS to release documents concerning any requests the agency received from President Obama for the tax returns of any individual or business.
The suit resulted after the IRS cited privacy concerns as the basis of its refusal to provide the documents in response to Cause of Action's March 2012 Freedom of Information Act request.
Cause of Action describes itself as "a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses investigative, legal, and communications tools to educate the public on how government accountability and transparency protects taxpayer interests and economic opportunity."
"Hiding behind a claim of privacy that does not stand up when you consider the commitment to transparency made by this Administration, the IRS has no grounds for refusing our request," stated Karen Groen, chief oversight counsel at Cause of Action.
"American taxpayers deserve to know if the President has requested to see their tax information. I'd like to know if he wanted to see my tax returns, wouldn't you," Groen said.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
A provision of the IRS code authorizes the agency to provide copies of individual and business tax returns on request from the president.
A spokesman for Cause of Action said the IRS could simply have claimed that it had no documents that would be responsive to the FOIA. But the IRS merely denied access to documents Cause of Action requested, which suggests there are such documents.
UPDATE: IRS say it got no Obama requests
A spokesman for the IRS tells The Washihngton Examiner that the agency received no requests from Obama for tax returns:
The IRS does not comment on pending litigation," said Michelle Eldridge. "However, the IRS can confirm that no requests were made, and no tax returns or return information have been disclosed under Internal Revenue Code 6103 (g) during the period in question."
Eldridge added that "federal law provides under Internal Revenue Code 6103 (g) a provision for the President of the United States to request and receive federal tax return information."